History was made inside the Walter Pyramid in the second set after senior setter Josh Tuaniga set up a play for a Long Beach kill. Amassing over 4,000 assists in his career, Tuaniga joined elite company, being one of only four other players to accomplish the feat at Long Beach State.
The 49ers (16-0) bested the Cardinals (12-7) in a three-set sweep (25-18, 25-13, 25-14) on the first night of a back-to-back. Led by senior outside hitter TJ DeFalco, who had 11 kills while hitting .600, Long Beach was able to handle business as usual with little to no difficulty.
Long Beach paced the first set, controlling the tempo and closing it out 25-18 after a Stanford setting error. After the first set, the fans sat back, relaxed and enjoyed the show. The 49ers had a .655 hitting percentage, a new school record, shattering the last one they had where they hit .614 against Stanford 22 years ago.
The crowd heckled the Cardinal players before serving, screaming “Hey! Hey! Hey! You don’t have it!” and even proceeded to start a wave among all the sections. Hands went up in unison while Stanford fans sat in silence while they endured the pummeling the 49ers laid on the Cardinals.
“I’ve seen [the wave], but I’ve never seen it in a college volleyball game in the West Coast,” head coach Alan Knipe said. “The experience for everyone, not just the student-athletes that are playing … the experience for everyone that’s coming into the venue right now … it’s a special time and you can tell how much they’re enjoying it and I love to look up there and see a big student section.”
It’s a weekend of record breaking, and that should continue tomorrow as DeFalco inches closer into the history books. He’s two service aces away from passing assistant coach Scott Touzinsky and becoming the program’s all-time leader in service aces.
“Scott [Touzinsky] was under there barking at [DeFalco]. I guarantee there’s not someone who’s pulling for him more to get that record out of the way than Scott,” Knipe said.
Long Beach is back in action 7 p.m. Saturday against unranked Saint Francis where it will look to extend its program record home winning streak to 36.